What maternal variables predict extended breastfeeding practice?

The goal of this study was to explore variables associated with extended breastfeeding practice. Specifically, the study investigated whether intrapersonal factors (breastfeeding self-efficacy and breastfeeding history/education), interpersonal factors (perceived support, attitudes, and return to work) and demographics were associated with the practice of extended breastfeeding. A total of 414 participants completed a survey posted to a forum for mothers and mothers-to-be. Results revealed no significant associations between demographic variables and extended breastfeeding. However, there were significant associations between intrapersonal factors (breastfeeding self-efficacy), and interpersonal factors, (work support), and the practice of extended breastfeeding. Women who breastfed longer than 12 months were more likely to report greater breastfeeding self-efficacy, more likely to meet their breastfeeding goals at work, and had fewer work barriers to breastfeeding. Limitations, future directions, and implications are discussed.